What to know about the movie Donald Trump doesn’t want you to see

The Apprentice, starring Sebastian Stan as a young Trump, includes scenes of him undergoing hair treatments and popping amphetamines

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Director Ali Abbasi expressed frustration with “power people” blocking the U.S. release of his controversial Donald Trump biopic, The Apprentice.

Abbassi responded to a tweet by The Nation blaming Hollywood’s worst Memorial Day weekend in 30 years on sequels and spin-offs, expressing frustration at the lack of industry support for his new film about former U.S. President Donald Trump’s rise to power. Despite leaving a strong impression at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, a recent effort by Trump’s campaign to halt its domestic release will leave American audiences waiting.

“We have a new proposition for you. It’s not a f–king sequel nor is it a f–cking remake. It’s called #The_Apprentice and for some reason certain power people in your country don’t want you to see it!!!” Abbassi wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

As the new Trump movie seeks global distribution, Trump lawyers have threatened legal action to halt the film’s domestic release.

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Both Dan Synder, the billionaire former Washington Commanders owner and Trump ally, and Steven Chueng, Trump’s communications director, have filed cease-and-desist letters against the film’s producers. The film’s creative direction apparently blindsided Snyder, who was originally an investor.

“The movie presents itself as a factual biography of Mr. Trump, yet nothing could be further from the truth,” said the Trump team’s letter, as reported by Variety.

So, why doesn’t Donald Trump want you to see this movie? Is it worth the watch? Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the movie about?

The Apprentice is a biographical drama that depicts the rise of the former U.S. President and businessman Donald Trump in the 1970s and 1980s. The film serves as Trump’s origin story, focusing on his early years in business and his relationship with Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong), a ruthless New York City prosecutor. It offers an intimate portrayal of their mentor-protégé dynamic and explores Trump’s use of power, corruption and deception to establish his American dynasty.

Why is the movie controversial?

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The film contains several scenes from Trump’s early years as a real estate tycoon, living in his father’s shadow. Trump is also shown undergoing hair treatments for his bald spot, liposuction for his weight gain, and pill-popping amphetamines behind closed doors.

Is the film any good?

The film received an eight-minute standing ovation following its debut at the Cannes Film Festival. Stars Sebastian Stan as Donald Trump and Jeremy Strong as Roy Cohn have been the subject of particular praise.

While the film does not provide any revelatory insights into the former President, it is said to be an over-the-top portrayal of money, power and ambition, capturing the allure and moral depravity of political influence and fame.

Director Ali Abbasi and actor Sebastian Stan attend a press conference for the film The Apprentice during the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2024.
Director Ali Abbasi and actor Sebastian Stan attend a press conference for the film The Apprentice during the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2024. Photo by JULIE SEBADELHA /Getty

Will I be able to watch it?

Canadians will soon be able to see the film for themselves. Mongrel Media will release the film in Canada via a pact secured by producers, Deadline reports.

What’s the latest?

Despite the firestorm of media attention and positive responses from critics, The Apprentice still does not have a U.S. distributor. Variety reports that occasional offers have trickled in, but none of the big studios will touch it.

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If a major film distributor were to release the film, it could land them on Trump’s bad side, a dangerous place to be should he win the election. The legal and political backlash could be severe.

Theatres and streaming networks are also likely to avoid alienating a large segment of the U.S. by releasing a film interpreted as anti-Trump.

While the film is likely to find a distributor soon, with domestic and international parties showing interest, its rollout is expected to be embattled.

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